Publications & Resources

Informal Formative Assessment of Students’ Understanding of Scientific Inquiry

Aug 2004

Maria Araceli Ruiz-Primo and Erin Marie Furtak

This paper provides information on an exploratory study about informal formative assessment practices in three science classrooms implementing a physical science curriculum focusing in buoyancy. We provide a framework for examining these practices based on three components of formative assessment (eliciting, recognizing and using information) and three domains linked to science inquiry (epistemic frameworks, conceptual structures, and social processes). We developed a coding system to track strategies teachers used across the three informal formative assessments components. The coding system could capture differences in assessment practices across the three teachers. Furthermore, based on three questions used for assessing students’ performance we linked students’ level to the quality of the teachers’ assessment practices. We concluded that the strategies provided important information about the teacher informal assessment practices.

Ruiz-Primo, M. A., & Furtak, E. M. (2004). Informal formative assessment of students’ understanding of scientific inquiry (CSE Report 639). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).